April 18th, 2010
05:41 PM ET

Day 2 at Coachella: The Overall Experience vs. The Line-Up

People are willing to forgive a lot of blunders in the business of music festivals if they walk away from the event with a warm fuzzy. At Coachella, people are still up in the air about whether the line-up can overcome frustrations like a two-plus hour wait in the hot sun on the first day to pickup tickets, the nightmarish parking lots at the end of the night, the all or nothing ticketing and the 15,000 additional tickets sold this year.

Day 2 of Coachella has now passed and some valuable lessons have been learned.Find another way to the venue, pay a nice neighbor $20 to park in their yard and avoid the free festivalparking unless you want to be there until 3am. That $20 will be the best money you spend if you plan to drive to the event.

Saturday's lineup had a little something for everyone, even though some acts had to cancel due to the flight disruptions in Europe caused by volcanic ash. Hitting the many stages on the Empire Polo Fields in Indio, The Raveonettes, the body thumping bass of Bassnectar, Hot Chip, MGMT, Dead Weather, Faith No More (remember the lurching goldfish flopping for air in their music video) Muse, Tiesto and David Guetta. FULL POST

February 9th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Lou Gossett Jr.: A class act

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Lou Gossett Jr. announced today he's in the early stages of prostate cancer. It gave me pause, because I had a chance to spend some time with him this past November.

Gossett was a guest at the taping of the CNN Heroes show at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. Our unit in Los Angeles helped squire celebrities from their limos to their seats; we were essentially Hollywood herders. Because we are immersed in the world of celebrity, it's not often we are starstruck. It's a business, a job.

A couple of weeks before the show, I received a call on my cell: a Beverly Hills area code, and a number I didn't recognize. I generally do not give out my cell phone number, so I was curious.
FULL POST

January 14th, 2010
01:28 AM ET

R&B's Teddy Pendergrass dead at 59

R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass passed away Wednesday night surrounded by family members following a long illness. The 59 year old Philadelphia native started honing his craft and voice at an early age, singing in youth choirs, then joining the Cadillacs, a group that later merged with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes.

The group's self titled debut album in 1972, spawned the number one hit  “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” later covered by the band Simply Red. Over the next three years the band saw success in the form of hits like, “The Love I Lost,” “Bad Luck,” “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “Wake up Everybody.”

Pendergrass embarked on a solo career in 1977 with hits like  “I Don't Love You Anymore," "You Can't Hide From Yourself," and "The More I Get the More I Want." Heating up the charts and the stage, Pendergrass became known for his steamy  “Ladies Only” tours. He also received critical acclaim with Billboard's 1977 Pop Album New Artist Award and an American Music Award for best R&B performer of 1978. FULL POST

November 23rd, 2009
02:21 PM ET

American Music Awards: bandages & bondage wear

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Nobody died and dubbed me the arbiter of all things fashionable, but I can spot a "don't" pretty easily, and last night at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles, there were plenty to go around. In fact, there were so many, like J.Lo, you could have tripped on them. Let's take a "trip" down memory lane.

Janet, "Miss Jackson" if you must, looked like a Crate and Barrel couch that had too much bedazzling.

Speaking of bedazzled, Shakira's shorty black number made Janet's look positively dowdy with all the sparkle and glitz. It was sort of a latex, LED tube dress that fit her like a glove. The hips don't lie.

Rihanna is usually lauded for her ensembles, and while I don't always love the '80s outfits she dons, I can appreciate her ability to pull them off. So what happened last night? Rihanna was covered from neck to ankles in what looked like a white velour "onesie." You know, sort of like little kids pajamas. It was offset by horizontal cutouts that looked like tan stripes, which one person described as a glorified Cinnabon and another termed "Ace bandages." She was wearing a short white shrug that looked like football shoulder pads with spikes jutting forth.

Lady Gaga... you expect a dramatic look from her, it's part of the schtick. But her weirdly proportioned nude leotards, oddly wrapped with the accessory of the night, "Ace bandages," offset by a contraption that looked like a ribcage with Christmas tree lights, and very "Alienesque" headgear were beyond the pale. I kept looking at those straps trying to figure out why they were there and what they were hiding.
FULL POST

November 4th, 2009
07:10 PM ET

Rihanna and Chris Brown's dueling interviews and albums

It's a publicity flurry.

Rihanna's two-part interview with "Good Morning America"'s Diane Sawyer airs Thursday and Friday. There's the December cover of Glamour magazine featuring Rihanna, recognizing her as one of their "Women of the Year." Every day it seems another Rihanna video is released, and don't forget her new album "Rated R" is due in stores November 23rd. Until now, she's been silent about the night she was left bruised and battered by then-boyfriend Chris Brown.

Tomorrow, we'll hear from Rihanna. She'll perhaps shed some light on the evening. We may learn what precipitated the blowout that ended in a smackdown. But there are two sides to every story. Rihanna's side has been dramatically illustrated by the leaked evidence photo of her swollen eyelids, bruised face and busted lips.  Chris' side includes a botched Larry King appearance, a fleeting shot of him serving his community service wearing an orange jumpsuit, and his Twitter posting with a link to a music video (made by fans) of he and Rihanna in ostensibly happier times. The video is set to Lee Carr's "The Way We Used to Be" and accompanied by Brown's apology "SORRY YALL. JUST HAD TO POST IT," with a follow-up tweet "FOR THE FELLAS: showing emotion doesn't make u weak... BEING HONEST MAKES U STRONG."

If being honest makes you strong, then perhaps we're about to see a much stronger Chris Brown. Friday at 6pm ET, his side of the story will play out in an interview with MTV's Sway. According to an MTV press release, Brown will address "the questions people have been asking."  In the 30-minute interview, the one-time R&B darling "opens up about the aftermath of his assault" and his sentence that includes anger management and community labor. Why now? Is he looking for the last word after Rihanna's two-day ABC sitdown? Could it be he also has an album to sell? Not yet, but his third album is on the way: "Graffitti" is slated to hit stores December 8th.

In the end, we have two people, two well-timed interviews, two albums to sell, and two sides of the story... with no happy ending in sight.

November 2nd, 2009
04:09 PM ET

'You Oughta Know' Alanis and the anthem

Game Five of the 2009 World Series is scheduled to begin at 7:57 p.m. ET tonight in Philadelphia, and hitting the national stage is seven-time Grammy Award winner Alanis Morissette. She'll be performing the National Anthem.

It's not an easy song to sing, and having a stadium-sized audience of fired-up sports fans - not to mention millions more watching on TV - is either one hell of an inspiration or a recipe for total disaster.

Morissette is certainly no shrinking violet, as the lyrics to her songs attest. I'm guessing she'll nail it.  Not everyone has managed to, though, and I'm betting you can remember a few botched attempts.

Who do you think has performed the worst rendition of the National Anthem ever?

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